indietro
15 gennaio 2013
RENZO BERGAMO, A SON OF THE GALAXY
by Claudio Cerritelli

In one of his critical notes on the astral fl ux of light, Renzo Bergamo
stated that he had been ideally born out of the cosmos, that he felt like
he was a son of the galaxy and of the matter that endlessly transforms
into the universe’s boundless energy. This crucial declaration is the point
of reference for any interpretation of his art, on its journey towards the
origins of creative thinking, in harmony with endless opportunities to
reveal – in painting – magical manifestation of colour and luminescent
visions expanding freely, incessantly.
Painting the infi nite has always been the aspiration of artists who, unsatisfi
ed with describing the visible world, longed to participate in the dynamic
collection of shapes that produces new possible visions, projected within
an unknown entity that is destined to last forever.
The creative dismay Bergamo felt when facing unconfi ned, dizzying
space, prompted him to imagine a new role for art as a way to discover
the unknown and, more importantly, to teach others about love for knowledge,
the desire to overcome the limitations of space-time, the feeling
of emotional bewilderment that is supported by the “courage to dare”.
The devotion to this ardour directed the course of his adventure amongst
pictorial shapes, in every phase of his long creative journey, in the delicate
shifts from the fi gurative world to undetermined abstraction, through the
joint presence of subjective factors and structural elements that disclose
the great order of the cosmos. By cultivating a dialogue between colours’
intuitive pathways and the methods used to analyse the cosmogonic
system, Bergamo proved to be aware that art and science are in synch
because of the inner relations amongst the elements within their cognitive
scope. Other possible points of convergence belong to approaches.
based on different functions and intentions. For instance, when facing an
enigma, a scientist strives to fi nd the analytical solution to the inexplicable
cognitive crux; an artist, instead, explores it like an open image that is able
to generate more enigmas, almost without the will to defi ne the stable
and ascertainable process of its unveiling.
As regards such issues, Bergamo’s research always endeavours to transfi gure
into paintings the kinetic energy of the planetary world, the variable
acceleration of instable particles, the incessant rhythm of the universe’s
chromatic musicality, or – to use a beautiful scientifi c metaphor – the
total fl ux of the “cosmic dance”.
Through various research cycles, Bergamo explores from a painter’s point
of view the interrelations, the persistences and the desegregations to
which matter is subject in the whirlpools of the infi nite. He insists on this
approach even at the risk of not being able to foresee what his paintings
might reveal, in the transmutations that are part of his creative process.
Matter is always elevated to the highest degree of emanation of its visible
splendour; the light impulse is immersed in the thought of what is
beyond; the chromatic breath derives from galactic vapours; the heartbeat
of signs follows the insights of fantasy, dilating all boundaries with various
space incursions.
The ideal artist that Bergamo has in mind is not only a researcher of
invisible balances for pure colour, who could be ranked in any one of the
stylistic categories of art from the second half of the 1900s. Instead, he
is the restless soul of the painter looking for the connections that exist
between far away worlds, terrestrial horizons and stellar explosions, intimate
emotions and cosmic rationales, vital cogitations on being, which link past
and future in becoming the infi nite of the present. This creative ambition
turns into a fi lter for the visions that escape the dogmas of analytical and
conceptual art, and humours the complexities of painting that cannot be
traced back to foreordained parameters of perception. Bergamo experiences
painting from the inside; he creates states of osmosis with physical
and psychological dynamics of colour, he assimilates light emerging in all
directions, knowing that imagination does not follow preconcerted paths,
but acts within an inextricable web of relations that is the springboard
of all chromatic impulses. The artist’s activity embraces the aesthetic
and ethical spheres of painting as a refl ection on the physiological and
psychological implications of colour, in relation to the origin of chaos,
that is fundamental to any instant image portrayed in works of art.
In this sense, Bergamo believes that the discipline of art conforms to
experimental sciences, as he recognises the surprising parallels between
the shapes invented by painting and those visible in phenomena of cosmic
nature. The evanescent lightness of pigments and the plastic vibration
of shapes point to a level of quality in his work that make the delicate
surfacing of geometric signs impalpable, as with the indecipherable signs
of the invisible, the iridescent appearances of light, the oblique curves
and broken lines, the sound waves and musical timbre – persistent features
that generate harmony, even when the dissection of space seems
to disrupt the magnifi cence of the whole.
Literary sources, musical nourishment, and references to ancient and
contemporary philosophy come together in Bergamo’s complex culture,
adding to his knowledge of recent theories about irreversible dynamic
processes, outlining a fi eld of interests that led his cosmologic imagination.
He takes every cognitive stimulus back to the beating heart of
painting, justifi ed by the need to transform scientifi c inspiration into a
chromatic event, and the fl uctuations of theoretical thinking into the live
and palpitating physicalness of colour. This occurs whenever Bergamo
becomes engrossed in the theory of chaos and black holes, when he uses
pi as a symbol of mystery, or when – years later – scientists were able to
recognise the striking resemblance between the cosmic nuclei of his early
works and the photographs produced by the NASA.
Such coincidences between chromatic visions and scientifi c icons should not be interpreted
in a strictly comparative sense, but as a testimony to the fact that art and
science both belong to a single, enveloping reality, a common soul that
does not require antagonisms and contrasts. Bergamo constantly asserts
the necessity of a relationship with the scientific dimension of his
time, whether he is portraying the instant glow of a comet or caressing
matter with nebulous effects, blurred vapours, sudden chromatic sparks
that burn the outlines.
He uses instruments that are fi t to convey the material and conceptual
transformations in the contemporary world, joining intellectual sensitivity
and moral rigour, expressive force and technical profi ciency, with
the dialectic ability that in time allowed him to reach stylistic originality
through unmistakeable spatial inventions.
The revolution in imagination brought about by the artists of Spatialism
is a constant prod for painters who, like Bergamo, aspire to boundless
dynamics, fi gural processes that propel thought beyond the horizon,
towards expanding universes.
It is crucial that in 1900s’ painting every revolution in outlook and every
new defi nition of space-time had to come to terms with the fundamental
principles of Futuristic dynamism, which aimed at completely rebuilding
sensorial iconography. It is not by chance that the best strategy to convey
the interpenetration of an object and its environment is the one theorised
and practiced by Futurist painting and sculpture, with plastic and chromatic
signs dragged by unstoppable vortexes, fluctuating strength-lines
and magnetic space trajectories.
A similar dynamic and formal output were reached by the artists who, in
the second half of the century, embarked on an extraordinary challenge
against static representation. The attention goes, fi rst and foremost, to
the efforts that most anxiously pursued – as was stated in the Fourth
Manifesto of Spatialism (1951) – “the vision of universal matter that
science, philosophy, and art have fed the spirit of men within knowledge
and intuition”.
Bergamo’s art was directly connected to these principles since the fi rst
few years of the 1960s, as soon as he started tackling the potential of
sign and colour in translating the dynamics of total space through intermittent
rhythms, expanded sounds, mutable lights that stand out from
the perception of terrestrial deepness, launched towards immeasurable
cosmic adventures, thinking beyond the boundaries of what is visible,
beyond the certainties granted by existing configurations.
After all, the “cosmic abstractism” label given to his many experiments
with signs and colours derives from the belief that art, to be worthy of its
time, must be able to converse with science, transforming the intuitions
of analytical thought into specifi c visual fantasy.
For Bergamo this did not entail an adaptation or the acceptance of a passive
relationship with scientifi c sources, but the ability to develop parallel
and coinciding visions aesthetically, always putting the graphical-pictorial
code at the heart of the imaginative method.
Accepting the grammar of Abstractism was necessary to make form
the substratum for ever-changing perceptive shocks, an inquiry into the
genetic forces of space, a never-ending questioning of the processes that
fragmentise harmonic unity.
Through different research phases, from fi gure to abstract and from abstract
to fi gure, the artist expresses an imaginative tension that reaches
the most original outcomes when submitting to the viewer’s eye the
invisible fi bres of matter, the web of intrigue of elusive lines, the instant
speed of intuition, the dust and glistening of an inner light, fl oating in
the cosmic void.
From the smallest detail to the dilation of fi gural nuclei, one can feel
a constant allusion to the image of chaos as a genesis of all possible
shapes, active persistence of thought, developing a mutable alphabet of
signs and a moving chromatic range that with its physicality draws our
gaze in, into the layers of painted matter.
Signs are delicate, ambiguous, slippery; they suggest contrasting directions,
confl icting states and unstable balances; sometimes they appear like
antennae that receive mysterious energies, while others they communicate
shapes’ sense of disaggregation or their loss of gravity.
The colours are intense and focused on the energy of light; they offer the
sensation of moving in galaxies that are still forming, hovering between
the mergers of signs and colours that have no known destination, almost
dreaming of archaic cosmologies where swarms of atoms ceaselessly
join one particle to the others.
With this near-mediumistic, and at times even radioactive, sensitivity, Bergamo
builds a unique journey in the mythical landscape of the Elsewhere,
in direct contact with the violet and nebulous atmospheres of the cosmos,
with the solar vibrations of yellow and the emotional incandescence
of red, between the magical suspense of white and the imponderable
resonance of blue, fi nally sinking into the memories of the past and the
foreshadowing of the future.
In a passionate and original way, Bergamo’s visionary and scientifi cally
poetic paintings are able to strike a mysterious chord in the imagination,
creating a fi eld of unlimited paths that the artist takes spontaneously,
canvas after canvas, like a cosmic dream that is just “waiting to begin”.